Ram Rahim verdict: Dera followers flushed out in 100s ahead of judgment day
It was a hectic night for the Haryana police and central forces who flushed out 100s of Dera followers gathered at Panchkula over the past three days.
State DGP B S Sandhu said the night-long operation was carried out and the 'premis', as Dera followers are known, would be moved out in buses arranged by the government.
An estimated 1.5 lakh Dera followers including men, women and children have gathered in Panchkula, where a CBI court is set to deliver its verdict in a rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today.
After a rap earlier in the day from the Punjab and Haryana High Court as to how thousands of Dera followers had been allowed to gather at Panchkula ahead of the court verdict, Haryana DGP Sandhu tonight told reporters that the 'premis' would be moved out of the town.
Sandhu said they would persuade the followers to move out of Panchkula and return to their homes.
"The High Court order is that they should be told they will have to go. We are arranging buses and the entire night exercise will be carried out to send them out of Panchkula," Sandhu said.
However, it became a herculean task for the security forces as the Dera followers were "reluctant" to move.
He claimed that "the situation as of now is fully under control. Besides the the police force, central forces have reached Panchkula in strength and taken position. The area near the court is out of bounds and we will not allow anyone to go there except for those who are required to be there".
He said that as of now curfew was imposed in Sirsa city and three nearby villages, but no such decision was taken for Panchkula so far.
When asked if Dera followers would resist the move to shift them from here, Sandhu said, "We are capable and prepared to deal with any situation."
He said the Haryana police personnel have seized umbrellas and other articles from some of the Dera followers who had gathered in Panchkula.
"We have checked them. They are not carrying any lathis. We have seized umbrellas, and impounded buses and vehicles in which they had arrived here," he said.
To a query, he said security forces would make the followers understand that they have to comply with the high court orders.
"We are dealing with women and children and old alike, but we have sufficient police force including women to deal with them," Sandhu said.
The DGP said the police was keeping a close eye on the situation and ten IPS officers of SP rank, a few IG-level officers, two ADGPs were deputed for the purpose while senior IPS officer K K Sharma was incharge of security situation in Panchkula.
Sandhu said the Dera chief has said that he would appear before the CBI court in Panchkula tomorrow and it was up to him to chose the road route or reach here by air.
"We are prepared in both cases and have made arrangement accordingly," he said.
Sandhu said the state had requested for Army to be deployed, after which it is sending 25 columns.
"These columns are coming from the western command in Chandimandir," he said.
A large number of Dera followers have also gathered at Sirsa, which is about 260 km from Panchkula, to show solidarity with the 50-year-old sect chief.
Many Dera followers have been camping at the Sector 3 park near the Panchkula golf club, under the flyovers on the Kalka-Shimla highway and inside the town in Sectors 2, 4 and other residential areas.
Thousands of followers have also congregated at the Dera headquarters at Sirsa.
"We are here for our 'pitaji' (Gurmeet Ram Rahim). He is doing so much selfless service for the mankind by taking up several humanitarian tasks. Can't we even have the right to have his Darshan (see him)," said a young woman from Kurukshetra.